You Think This Won’t Happen To You?

IMG_7362-640x426

Is that sexy selfie really worth your future?

I’ve been out of the blogging game for a bit, but it only takes one thing to light that fire. And Charlotte’s story did that for me. This is the story of one mother’s fight and fight she did.

If you read anything today, if you only click on one link all weekend, this is the one to choose. If you’re a woman; if you’re the parent of a daughter, any age, you WANT — no NEED — to read this. If you’re a guy who thinks the guy getting revenge against an ex-girlfriend is hilarious, I beg you to read this. It’s a loooong read. It’s also terrifying. And it’s all true. Grab your coffee (or an alcoholic beverage, because you might want one after this) and settle in with your smart phone, laptop, iPad or at your desktop (people still have those, I’m assuming) and just keep reading. An excerpt from the article is below. Follow the linked text at the bottom to XOJane.com, where this originally appeared. CLICK the link and FINISH the article. I promise that you’ll be scared for our future, for our children’s future, but knowing that this can happen and that this kind of evil exists in the world, well, that’s something that we should all be aware of, no matter how much we want to stick our heads in the sand. Thank God Charlotte didn’t.

I’VE BEEN CALLED THE “ERIN BROCKOVICH” OF REVENGE PORN, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, HERE IS MY ENTIRE UNCENSORED STORY OF DEATH THREATS, ANONYMOUS AND THE FBI
This is what happens when the “most hated man on the Internet” messes with the wrong mother.

I felt like Will Smith in “Enemy of the State.” I was being hunted, harassed and stalked by criminals with technological expertise. I had been thrust into an unexpected war. I felt exposed, vulnerable and alone on the front line. I had awoken a hideous network of villains and saboteurs, who were in pursuit of me, hoping to ruin my life. I had received creepy emails, backlash on Twitter and three death threats. My computer had been bombarded with viruses, and a technician had advised me to buy all new equipment because the malware was tough to remove.

“Also, be leery of unusual cars or vans in the neighborhood,” the tech added.

“Why?” I asked.

“If someone wants to break into your computer network, he will need to be close to your house. That is, unless he has advanced skills. Then, he could gain access from anywhere.”

I hurried home from the hardware store with my all-important purchase: heavy-duty padlocks. I knew I had to secure the gates at my residence, so that an intruder or a team of intruders could not access my backyard and possibly my home.

I pulled into my driveway and scanned the street, glad that the suspicious white car with the young, male driver was no longer present. It had been there on the previous evening, according to my daughter, Kayla. She’d seen it when she returned from work, and she had monitored it for several hours until it disappeared. She did not report the incident to me until the next day.

“Mom, why was there a guy in a white car, watching our house last night?”

Because she had no knowledge of the “be leery of unusual cars or vans” warning by the computer technician, I could not accuse her of paranoia.

I affixed padlocks to the gates, and the phone rang. It was like a gun. It had become a powerful way to threaten and to terrorize me. It was one of my enemy’s weapons. I reluctantly picked up the receiver.

“We know where you live,” a muffled male voice spoke. “Your life will be ruined.” He hung up.

A caller that morning had told me I would be raped, tortured and killed. I glanced out the front window. The night had once looked innocent and peaceful, but suddenly it seemed ominous and dangerous. Then I logged onto my computer to see whether the Twitter backlash against me had ceased. It had not. But there was an odd message on my feed, which read, “Please follow me. I need to direct message you.”

I did as I was instructed, and the interaction resulted in a bizarre phone call. Just as “Enemy of the State” protagonist Will Smith got aid from Gene Hackman β€” an off-the-grid, former government agent β€” I was being offered assistance.

“Don’t worry. We’re going to protect you. We’re computer experts,” were the first words uttered by a man nicknamed “Jack,” who claimed to be an operative with the underground group, Anonymous.

I knew little about the famous, decentralized network of activists and hacktivists, who are sometimes called “freedom fighters” or digital Robin Hoods, so I conducted Google searches during our half-hour phone conversation.

“Jack” instructed me on how to protect my computer network and explained in detail how he and a buddy planned to electronically go after the man who had been threatening me and who had been urging his devotees to follow suit. He then uttered the name of the person who has become the most well-known online face of revenge porn: a man named Hunter Moore.

“We know Hunter and his followers have been attacking you on Twitter. We will go after him and we won’t stop until he stops victimizing people,” he said. (xoJane reached out to Moore to comment for this story, but received no response.)

I felt better after the call, but wondered if it had been a practical joke. Was this really the notorious group Anonymous or was I being duped? Did I have an ally or would the stalking and emotional harassment escalate into physical violence against my family? I would learn the truth within 24 hours.

How It All Began…